But then, who can deny the Nazi's were, at some level, productive? They made the autobahn, and great tanks. I just found this rather fascinating research:
Historians have uncovered evidence leading to the estimation that the Nazis' wartime confiscation of wealth from Europe's Jews financed about 30 percent of the expenditure of the German armed forces during WWII.
The official study of the German Finance Ministry under the Nazis from 1933 to 1945 was conducted by historian Hans-Peter Ullmann.
But boy did the Gini coefficient decline from 1934 to 1945! Clearly, a lot of their growth was ephemeral--expropriation--and their regime too short to see the them reap what they sowed. As Lew Rockwell said of Hitler's economics:
Proto-Keynesian socialist economist Joan Robinson wrote that "Hitler found a cure against unemployment before Keynes was finished explaining it."
What were those economic policies? He suspended the gold standard, embarked on huge public works programs like Autobahns, protected industry from foreign competition, expanded credit, instituted jobs programs, bullied the private sector on prices and production decisions, vastly expanded the military, enforced capital controls, instituted family planning, penalized smoking, brought about national health care and unemployment insurance, imposed education standards, and eventually ran huge deficits. The Nazi interventionist program was essential to the regime's rejection of the market economy and its embrace of socialism in one country.
I think Jonah Goldberg says it well:
If you leave out the parts about killing all the Jews and invading Poland, what specifically about the Nazi political platform do you disagree with?
I can honestly say 'almost all of it'. Most modern liberals can't.
update: Jonah Goldberg wrote the book Liberal Fascism where he makes this point. For the record: he does not admire Nazis and neither do I. I suppose as an american of German heritage I should be more explicit about that, because on the internet it's easy to misinterpret points that aren't super straightforward (As Harrison Ford said in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: "Nazis. I hate these guys."). Goldberg points out that other than their militaristic imperialism and racism, much of their policy is pretty consistent with modern liberal and progressive politics. The road to serfdom starts by giving the state a lot of power.